Ireland, Sweden and Italy are set for a final round battle Royale at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup after the third round fourballs left the three nations as the clear favourites to take the title this afternoon.
The Molinari brothers Edoardo and Francesco carded the joint-lowest round of the third day with Korea over the Olazábal Course, posting a brilliant 61 to move to 24 under par and into a share of second place with defending champions Sweden, who, thanks to the efforts of Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson, compiled a fine 62 to lie just one shot behind Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
Team Ireland’s third round effort of eight under par 64 was good enough for them to retain the lead for the third round.
The three contenders are all looking forward to what is shaping up to be a hugely exciting final round.
“It seems to be a three horse race obviously, one team on 26 under and two teams on 25,” said McDowell. “So barring any disaster in the foursomes, I can't see any other teams but the top three winning.”
McIlroy added: “I think if everything was to go to plan and we were to win tomorrow, it would definitely be the biggest highlight of my golfing career so far. You know, it's very special to win an event, but to win it with a partner and to win it with a friend would make it even more special.”
Sweden are naturally confident of putting together a final round charge after their unforgettable charge to victory last year with a final round 63 in the foursomes.
“It was a great atmosphere playing in the last match with Ireland today,” said Karlsson. “We can draw on the memories of last year’s 63 but we have to go out there and get some birdies on the board early and get going from there because Ireland and Italy are very strong teams.”
Stenson is hoping that he and Karlsson can make a fast start in order to get their noses in front of the final grouping of Ireland and Italy.
He said: “It was great to play with the Irish boys today – it was almost like match play out there and I think both teams played well. But tomorrow is a different day and I am glad that we are not in the final group – we have a chance to steal a march on the guys behind us and that’s what we will be trying to do.”
The Molinaris enjoyed their best round of the week and will seek to win the Omega Mission Hills World Cup for the first time in the country’s history, their best finish being second in 1998 with the team of Massimo Florioli and Costantino Rocca.
“It's been a really good week, but today was probably the best day,” said Francesco. “We both played really consistent, good golf. It's been really good and we are in good position for tomorrow. We just try to keep playing like this and see what happens tomorrow.”
Edoardo added: “We played very well today. He was probably a little bit better than I was today. Both of us we managed to make a lot of birdies and hole the putts in the right moments. It was definitely a good score out there today because the pins were quite difficult, and even the other teams are not shooting as low as the first round, so I think 61 today is a great score.”
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